Taxes: 'The price we pay to live in a civilized society'

Two members of Wealth for the Common Good spoke out today about the role our nation’s infrastructure plays in creating individual wealth. During a press conference, Arul Menezes, a principal architect at Microsoft, and Bill Collins, former mayor of Norwalk, Conn., talked about their personal stories of financial success and their willingness to pay more taxes — in order to help foster the success of other Americans.

Menezes grew up in India and arrived in the US in 1988 to attend graduate school at Stanford. He noted that his education was covered with a grant from the National Science Foundation. He credited public investments in research and development for his professional success, and that of the technology industry as a whole.

“A more accurate telling of my story would consider that every day I benefit from schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, parks, and civic amenities that were built and paid for by previous generations, who were much less well off than we are today. Yet they had the collective will to invest in their future and the future of their children,” he told reporters.

“I have the feeling nobody really likes to pay taxes. But they are the price we pay to live in a civilized society.”

Bill Collins is a veteran, former Connecticut legislator and served as Norwalk’s mayor for eight years. He currently works as a newspaper columnist and CEO of Minuteman Media. His success in real estate propelled him into the income level that would be affected by a repeal of the Bush-era tax cuts that Wealth for the Common Good is calling for.

“Those of us who have the greatest ability to pay are not being asked to,” he said. “I am not keen on being part of the freeloader class.

Although Tuesday’s press conference marked the official public launch of Wealth for the Common Good, we’re still actively recruiting signers on our petition to reverse the Bush tax cuts on households with incomes over $235,000. Please add your voice and tell our leaders, like Menezes and Collins have, that individual wealth depends on a establishing a healthy and fair public infrastructure — one that takes care of everyone equally.